Crucible Hands-On: What We Learned About Amazon's New Hero Shooter
If you're getting over Overwatch and are no longer palling around with Paladins, you may want to check out the upcoming Crucible from Amazon Game Studios. It's a brand new hero shooter that launches for free as a PC-exclusive on May 20.
Luckily, I've sat down for an (almost three-hour!) chat with the developers, who answered quite a few of my questions about the new release.
Crucible Hands-On: Amazon Game Studios Enters the Hero Shooter Arena
Right off the bat, Crucible differentiates itself from traditional hero shooters by being set in third-person.
It's not the most groundbreaking departure from what is familiar for this subgenre. Still, it at least appears to combine the fast and fluid style of gameplay seen in titles like Fortnite with the tightly-woven, team-based interplay seen in titles like Overwatch.
At launch, Crucible will feature three distinct gameplay modes. They are being described by Amazon Game Studios as follows:
Heart of the Hives: A 4 vs. 4 battle against giant boss Hives that spawn throughout the world. Each Hive contains a valuable Heart, and the first team to capture three Hearts wins, making each match a dangerous balance between racing the opposing team and surviving the powerful Hives.
Alpha Hunters: Eight teams of two take the battlefield and fight to be the final team standing.
Harvester Command: Two eight-person teams battle to capture and hold Harvesters spread across the map, vying for control of the Essence that drew them all to the planet. Teams earn points by controlling Harvesters and defeating opponents, and the first team to 100 points wins.
Amazon released a handful of videos detailing each mode, which you can see over here.
I got over three hours of hands-on time to look over the shoulders of several different developers in both Heart of the Hives and Harvester Command mode. Here's the crux of what I learned.
Crucible has been in development for five years, and more than one narrative designer is working on the game's story and characters.
There is a wide variety of characters with their own unique dynamics and gameplay styles at launch. Totalling 10 at launch, each has abilities that are important to certain situations. One of the standout characters is Bugg, who shoots seed pods and waters them into plant-based turrets.
Characters each go through the same story-driven tutorial mode but carry their own lines and personalities into matches. Downtime conversations will happen between characters during exploration and other downtime moments, and they are unique to each character pair.
At the start of a match, you can select your upgrades, and you choose your tier one, tier three, and tier five upgrades. Tiers two and four are a built-in part of character progression. You can change your perks before each match, but you can also tailor your upgrades to the opposing heroes on the opposite team while loading into the game. It's not possible to switch characters in Crucible mid-match.
Matches are guaranteed to end within 22 minutes, but generally, end much more quickly. Alpha Hunters and Harvester Command matches are more likely to end within 10 to 15 minutes.
If someone disconnects during the queuing sequence, Crucible has a backfill system that will grab someone else out of the queue, so that seven other people don't have to re-queue. If your partner dies in Alpha Hunters mode, you can fight for the right to pair up with another single player for the duration of the match.
Crucible is on a release schedule and will receive a new season, optimistically, between every eight to 10 weeks. Amazon says that it will always have a new battle pass, and the battle pass will always be stocked with new content.
Crucible is PC-first, but it does have limited controller support already, holding future integration into consoles as a possibility.
That's it for our preview of Crucible. You can download the free hero shooter from Amazon over on Steam starting at 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST on May 20. It will launch as a PC-exclusive first, but it may also see a console launch down the line.
Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Amazon's F2P hero shooter, including Crucible guides, in the coming days and weeks!